I feel myself coming to, and my eyes blink open.
However, I am immersed in darkness, which throws me off-balance for a moment.
Pain lances through the back of my head, slicing across my vision in an array of bright colors.
Where am I?
I can tell that I am tied to something, and the bonds I’m secured with are digging into my wrists. I take a deep breath, trying to gather my wits.
The pain is immense, but there is little point dwelling on it.
I have been kidnapped. I know that much.
By whom, and why, I can’t quite grasp yet.
I have an idea of who has done this, but I don’t want to think about it.
If I have been captured by…him...it is too horrific to contemplate.
It wasn’t a hood I saw him wearing, right? I only caught a glimpse of him in my bedroom. It was a shadow or a trick of the light.
Yeah, that’s it. It’s not him. It can’t be.
Despite the dark, I know I am sitting on a chair, in a cold room.
I try to concentrate on my surroundings, but my inner wolf is twitching.
I sense there is someone watching me.
I pull at the restraints a little harder, but it is hopeless.
I am stuck fast, with even my feet tied to the legs of the chair. There is no getting myself free, so I must wait.
Perhaps if I remain calm, I’ll think of a way to get out of here.
Then I detect footsteps. I freeze, cringing. There is someone in this room with me. Right now. The footsteps confirm it.
I don’t struggle, I just remain still.
I listen closely to the footsteps, trying to gauge where the sound is coming from and where this person is in the room.
Whoever it is, they are close to me. I can feel it, and hear it.
I breathe in deeply and close my eyes.
Whoever has kidnapped me must have a reason… I just need to find out what that reason is.
I like to think that I am quite smart. I have always been the one in the pack to consider things before I do them.
Now, however, all I can do is worry frantically about what will get me out of the clutches of my kidnapper.
A thick silence fills the room.
The footsteps have ceased, and I feel my heart start to pick up the pace again.
Having my senses toyed with like this is making me feel more than a little ill.
Being kidnapped right out of my bed was terrifying, but the knowledge that someone is there, watching me, and I can’t see them...I want to throw up.
I feel terribly isolated; the unbearable quiet weighs on my shoulders.
“Lock your doors,” a soft voice whispers in my left ear.
I jump, twisting my head around to see who is behind me, but only see a black void.
The voice is shockingly unfamiliar.
“Shut them tight,” the voice whispers again, this time in my right ear.
The voice belongs to a man. It’s soft and raspy, like nothing I have heard before.
Whoever this kidnapper might be, I don’t know him. At least, not personally.
“Close your curtains,” the voice resumes, this time right in front of my face. “Every night.”
I struggle in my bonds, squeezing my eyes shut.
Fear has exploded and consumed my entire body, chasing away all former reason, until I am left with nothing but the desire to escape.
A finger is dragged down my cheek.
It’s a soft feeling, but there’s pressure behind it. It feels like the touch of a slick leather glove.
“Don’t go out, in case he’s there,” the voice continues, sounding farther away now.
I want to scream in terror. I want to lash out. I want to run.
But I am petrified. I can’t move. I doubt I could even if I was standing up with no restraints.
The footsteps draw closer until they stop right in front of me.
My stomach plummets into the soles of my feet.
This man, whoever he is, could kill me in a heartbeat. He could kill me and I couldn’t do anything to stop him.
“Always live in total fear.”
I gasp as I feel his warm breath against my face. He is undeniably close to me.
Suddenly, through all my fright, it dawns on me what he is chanting.
This soft, terrifying, melodic voice is reciting the exact poem that has been drilled into my head by my parents and teachers over the years. The poem about…
No, it can’t be…
“Even if it means sacrificing your mate,” the voice drawls, though now coming from behind me.
I can feel his breath on my neck, fanning across my shivering skin.
Then I become aware that the bonds on my arms are being cut loose.
I am stunned and can’t think of how to react.
“Don’t let Alpha Kaden seal your fate…”
I bend down, my clammy fingers struggling to untie the thick knots around my ankles.
No doubt he’s enjoying seeing me struggle for survival, but I am not about to give him any more satisfaction.
Once both knots are untied, I jump up and try to move away, my hands outstretched in case I hit a wall.
I still can’t see a thing, but fear that if I don’t move quickly I will surely meet an unfortunate end.
I find a wall soon enough.
The wallpaper feels velvety under my fingertips compared to the cold, hard concrete underneath my feet.
I rest my forehead against it, trying to get my bearings.
“You can’t escape something you can’t see,” the man’s voice says from right behind me.
This time I do scream. A loud, shrill scream as I lash my hands out. But there’s nothing there.
Am I going crazy?
I stumble to the right, keeping my hand on the wall.
I must find a way out of here. The laughter coming from the other end of the room is giving me a headache.
“Is this a game?” I shriek.
I’m not sure if my kidnapper can even see me.
He must be able to, I reason, ~if he knows where I am all the time.~
Of course, this is a game—a sick, twisted game run by an equally sick and twisted man.
I keep going till I feel the glassy surface of a windowpane underneath my hand.
A burst of hope floods through me.
I bang my hands against the glass, but it doesn’t smash. It just bends and flexes under my repeated blows.
I fall to my knees. “Why am I here?” I ask to the air.
Just as the words leave my mouth, a light flickers on, blinding me.
I cover my eyes till they can adjust. I’ve been so long in the dark.
After blinking a few times I begin to see what’s around me.
The room I’m in is larger than I expected. The chair I just escaped from is right in the middle.
And on that chair sits a man. My heart plummets.
There’s no denying it anymore. He’s wearing a hood that completely shadows his face.
The rest of his clothes are all black leather, but I can still see that he’s a big man, with a powerful frame.
Seeing my kidnapper for the first time in front of me like this is unnerving. I am hideously afraid, but I also have the urge to run at him and attack him.
He lounges comfortably, twirling a piece of rope in his gloved hands.
The same rope, I presume, that was used to keep me bound to the chair.
“You want to know why I only ever take girls from the Purity Pack?” he asks.
His voice is soft and smooth, yet I hear every word.
I can’t bear it any longer.I ignore his question and ask my own.
“Are you Alpha Kaden?”
“My reputation precedes me,” he cackles. “But you’re a smart girl. Answer my question. Why do I target Purity Pack girls?”
I don’t have time to think up a clever response, so I blurt out the first thing that comes to mind.
“Because you’re a coward.”
He gives an amused chuckle, then tosses the rope casually over his shoulder and stands.
I watch nervously as he approaches, his gait suggesting he’s almost floating across the floor, his steps are so soft. I back myself as far into the wall as possible.
“This has nothing to do with being a coward. And before you ask, this is not a vendetta against your alpha. He is a rather pleasant man,” he tells me.
He’s standing over me now, his head tilted down toward me. But I still can’t see past the shadow that masks his face.
He folds his hands across his front.
“I hate pleasant.” He kneels in front of me, to get on the same level, and my breath catches in my throat.
I hate it that he’s anywhere near me.
And I hate not having the guts to lash out and hurt him.
“I kidnap girls from the Purity Pack because they are weak and pathetic,” he tells me.
So there it is. Somehow, I expected no less from him. I give him my hardest glare, despite my fear.
“Well, I find it amusing,” he responds, laughing.
I want to slap him for saying such things, but I’m not even sure if he has a face. And that scares me the most.
“So, what… Am I your pet now? Or are you going to sell me off to one of your other desperate pack members?” I demand angrily.
I have never wanted to hurt someone as much as I want to hurt this man.
How could he do this to me? Or anyone else for that matter?
He’s stolen my life before I’ve even had the chance to live it.
“You’re not going to share the same fate as those other girls. Rest assured, you will not even see my pack, like they have. No, I have a different proposition to make.”
He says this slowly, as if I have a choice in the matter.
“I have been watching you for some time now,” he says. “I know you aren’t normally afraid of me.” He brings his hands together. “Though maybe you are right now…”
I decide to go for it. I launch myself at him, trying to hurt him in some way.
But he just grabs me before I can do anything.
My skin makes contact with his leather for several long seconds as he holds me by the wrists, then he tosses me effortlessly from him like I am a piece of trash.
I land hard on the ground and curl up in pain.
“You’re feisty,” he remarks dryly. “Are you sure you’re from the Purity Pack?”
I remain hunched on the ground, nursing my injuries.
“What you need to understand,” he tells me patiently, “is that I am an alpha, and you are my game. I am not yours.”
Is he setting ground rules? Am I being warned not to try anything like that again?
If I wasn’t at his complete and utter mercy, I would attempt another attack on him right now to show him what I thought of that.
I still have a voice though.
“I will not be your slave,” I growl.
Kaden laughs… I am in the presence of the deadliest alpha in the world.
He hasn’t shown mercy to anyone, so why would he show mercy toward me?
“Your fate shall be a little more interesting than that of a slave,” he murmurs.
He comes back over to me and holds his hand out.
I don’t want to take it, but I know that if I don’t he might do something bad to me.
I let him pull me to a standing position.
He’s over a head taller than me, yet I still can’t see under his hood.
All I see is shadow, a darkness I already yearn to light a flame under.
“I would like you to meet someone special,” he says.
“I don’t want to meet anybody from your pack,” I spit back.
He leans forward, and I stare into the black abyss where his face should be.
“Oh, I think you will, once you know who it is.”
“Who?” I glare back at him, trying not to sound curious at all.
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